Digital Marketing News: Effects of Pay-to-Play GMB

Every week we’re collecting a host of links, videos, and assorted analysis on the ever-changing world of digital marketing. We invite you to skim, share, analyze, argue, and refute – just so long as you don’t get embarrassed at the water cooler again. Here are the latest digital marketing news and trends for the week of May 10, 2019.

The Effects of a Pay-to-Play Google My Business

Google recently sent a survey to Google My Business users regarding services and features.  The survey was designed to gauge the interest of users in paying for those services and features. Google My Business has been free to business owners since its release in June 2014.

While the survey doesn’t mean any changes are coming tomorrow, it does indicate that Google My Business is likely to be monetized in the future. So what would a pay-to-play model look like for small businesses, brands, and their partners?

Location3 Director of Marketing Josh Allen and Director of Earned and Owned Matt Lacuesta gave their take on how it could play out. Here’s an excerpt from “Does Google’s Hint at Pay-to-Play for GMB Put the Channel at Risk?” via LSA Insider:

On The Ground

  • We’ve seen a surge in engagement with GMB profiles from phone calls, clicks to website and driving directions because of increased visibility in SERPs and the adoption of Google Maps across different mobile platforms. This surge shows value to users, but a change in the model could ultimately detract from that value as paid features fail to deliver the results of the free model.

In the Air

  • It’s likely that SMBs are put in the most difficult position. Without the help of corporate resources, they could be forced to do away with GMB altogether, choosing instead to build profiles on free platforms like Facebook. For those that are committed to the benefits of a GMB profile despite the costs, we could see a decrease in their paid search budgets and spending on non-brand ad campaigns as a way to cover those costs. Is Google simply robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Read the full post for further analysis.

Takeaways from Facebook’s F8 Conference

F8 2019, Facebook’s 10th annual developer conference was held April 30-May 1 in San Jose, CA. The event was billed as a “two-day event where developers, creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world gather to network and explore the future of technology with Facebook and its family of apps.”

Location3 CEO Alex Porter and Director of Paid Media Brooke Hess sat down to discuss the biggest news coming out of the conference including:

Facebook as an extension of the living room: Facebook is looking to increase user-to-user interactions on the platform. This includes Groups, a feature that prioritizes communication within Facebook Groups, where Facebook is seeing the biggest growth in engagement. Another way Facebook is pushing personal interactions is a desktop version of Messenger that allows users to watch streaming video together in a single experience.

Facebook is also introducing an online dating feature that functions like popular dating apps Tinder and Bumble. Facebook Dating includes a “Secret Crush” feature, which allows users to identify nine Facebook friends whom they are attracted to. If the crush is reciprocated, both users are notified of a match.

Instagram is improving its advertising offering: Instagram is expanding and improving its advertising features. One of the most important developments is shoppable posts, which provide users with a direct path to purchasing a product featured in a post or story. This feature is not only available to brands and advertisers, it’s now available to influencers, who can expand the reach of brands and products to their followers.

Instagram is testing hiding “likes”:  In an attempt to increase the quality of content as well as decrease damaging online competition, Instagram is currently testing making “likes” only available to the user who posts.

Nike Designs App to Make Sure Your Shoes Fit

Nike is introducing Nike Fit, an addition to their app that properly sizes the feet of users based on a scan of their feet. Shoe sizing has proven to be a major flaw in the online shopping experience with 27 percent of shoe purchases being returned, according to Nike.

Nike Fit allows users to scan their feet using their smartphone camera. The app analyzes each foot from a 3-dimensional perspective, providing more sizing data than the standard length and width. The app also takes into account which shoe the user is “trying on” before producing an optimal size recommendation.

The app attempts to limit returns while also keeping users in the Nike app, where they are more likely to become members and spend more money on Nike products. According to Nike, the scanner is accurate within 2 millimeters.

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